Young man charged in shooting death of 11-year-old Chicago girl

Antwan Jones, 19, of Chicago, Illinois, U.S. is pictured in this handout photo

By Timothy Mclaughlin

CHICAGO (Reuters) – A 19-year-old Chicago man has been charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of an 11-year-old girl, one of three children fatally shot in the city in recent days, Chicago police said on Wednesday.

Antwan Jones, 19, was charged after turning himself into police late on Tuesday, Chicago Police Department Commander Brendan Deenihan told a news conference on Wednesday.

Takiya Holmes, 11, was shot in the head on Saturday evening while sitting in the back seat of a van outside the Parkway Gardens housing complex on the city’s South Side. She died on Tuesday morning.

Jones, who lives in Parkway Gardens, was firing at three individuals whom he felt did not belong in the area, and Holmes was struck by a stray bullet, Deenihan said.

“These are handguns, and when the bullets start flying, they go everywhere,” Deenihan said. “This is not a very accurate weapon.”

Jones has a lengthy juvenile record, said Deenihan, who declined to comment on specifics.

Community members, including Andrew Holmes, Takiya’s cousin and a well-known activist, helped to identify Jones and convince him to turn himself in, Deenihan said.

“We need the community to help us,” Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said. “In this case, they stepped up.”

Holmes was one of two girls shot on Saturday. The other, 12-year-old Kanari Gentry Bowers, was shot while she played with friends outside Henderson Elementary School.

She died on Wednesday, according to a statement from her family released through the hospital where she was being treated.

“Kanari Gentry Bowers passed away this afternoon. We are appreciative of all of the thoughts and prayers we have received in the past several days,” the statement said. “Please keep your children close and do whatever it takes to protect them from the senseless gun violence in our city.”

A 2-year-old boy, Lavontay White, was killed on Tuesday during a triple shooting captured on Facebook Live by his pregnant aunt, who was injured. A male victim was killed.

“One victim of one shooting is one too many,” Mayor Rahm Emanuel said in a statement on Tuesday night, “but when innocent children are caught in the crossfire of gun violence and young people have their childhood stolen by stray bullets, our consciences are shaken, and our hearts are broken.”

(Reporting by Timothy Mclaughlin in Chicago; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn and Leslie Adler)